> Aokid “Earth,freedom!”ST Spot Yokohama, 2019.3.7-11

Aokid “Earth,freedom!”
ST Spot Yokohama, 2019.3.7-11

Written by Yurika Kuremiya|2019.3.26

Photo by ShinichiroIshihara

Easily crossing the boundaries of performing arts and visual art, Aokid operates in all kinds of settings from black to white boxes to streets. As far as I remember, it was his performance at TOKYO ELECTROCK STAIRS in 2011 where I first saw him, and every time I caught him after that, he perplexed me with the immeasurable depth of what is behind his refreshing smile and the character kind of role he seems to play. The smooth transition between two- and three-dimensional formats in this work, however, pretty much cleared things up for me.

Photo by ShinichiroIshihara

The large, A1-sized flyer advertising this piece contains little more than the handwritten title and a drawing of the earth – an image that plays a central role also in the performance itself. In a semi-dark setting, Aokid cut the “earth” out from a large sheet of drawing paper, spun it around and let it fly through the air, and eventually crumpled it into a ball that floated in space. Such kind of transition from something two-dimensional into a three-dimensional object happened at several points during the performance. The piece mixed live performance with video footage of past performances, and like the projection of “Aokid on video” dancing in an outdoor setting in Germany onto the artist’s own hand, his two-dimensional creations are very much alive, not unlike the way origami paper instantly transforms into a three-dimensional object. Here he juxtaposed the rotating earth cut out from paper with his own breakdance performance spinning on the floor, moving freely between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional as if transferring the motion of the “earth” onto his own movements.

Photo by ShinichiroIshihara

It would certainly be rash to simply attribute this style it to the sensibility of a digital native who is well familiar with virtual experiences via flat surfaces. Much rather than that, the act of “gathering people in real spaces” and the meaning of theaters as venues in an age when dance watched on video is increasingly becoming a mainstream format, Aokid’s art looks highly subjective to me. He changed lighting and music to split up and sequence his performance in discontinuous time frames, while one aspect that penetrated all of the colorful scenes that popped out one after another was an exquisite sense of rhythm. While watching up close the moments in which movements of varying speed crystallized in instant poses, and listening to the sounds that came from various places across the small venue, at some point the breath of the viewer synchronized with Aokid’s own “breath.” This physical resonance is certainly the appealing point that a live performance in general is all about.

Photo by ShinichiroIshihara

Toward the end of the piece, during “three minutes of free time” the spectators were encouraged to leave their seats and move to an adjacent area that until then was part of the stage, from where they watched Aokid dance around the audience seats and the bags left there. While letting the audience still be audience, he created a time-space where spatial and psychological differences disappeared, to allow everyone to make the same real-life experience of “bodies sharing the same here and now.”

Photo by ShinichiroIshihara

Shuntaro Tanikawa wrote in Two billion light-years of loneliness that “universal gravitation is the power of solitudes pulling each other,” and the continuo in the seemingly euphoric hymn to the earth that is ”Earth Freedom!” is perhaps a “solitary” one. The smile that remained on the artist’s face as he continued his lone battle with the ground wrapped it all up in a beautifully romantic mood.

Photo by ShinichiroIshihara


Aokid "Earth,freedom!"

March 7ー11, 2019
ST Spot Yokohama


Avatar photo
呉宮百合香 Yurika Kuremiya

Researcher in the field of dance. Her main area of investigation is contemporary dance since the 2000s. Continuously engages also in research focusing on the organization and application of dance archives. Studied in France on a scholarship from the French government in 2015-2016, and received her master’s degree (science of art) from the Université Paris VIII. Has been involved in the productionof numerous dance performances and festivals, including Mikiko Kawamura’s performance of ”La fleur éclôt en enfer” in Paris. Member of the jury in “Dance-Ga-Mitai! Newcomer Series Vol.16 & 17.” Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (DC1). Is presently enrolled in a doctoral course at Waseda University, Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences.